Pooh’s Thoughtful Spot

15 10 2006

Pooh's Thoughtful Spot. . .thinking how Power of Story shapes more Power of Story. How all education is really learning to understand and think deeply about power of story.
David Broder thought he saw this power of story in public attitudes about School last year:

The good news is that the American public values education so highly that it is prepared to support almost any sensible reform that promises to improve the quality of grade schools and high schools.

The bad news is that the people teaching in those schools are deeply opposed to current reform efforts and skeptical of the basic premise that all students should be measured by the same high standards.

Those are the paradoxical lessons I draw from a briefing this week on a comprehensive survey of parents, educators and the general public sponsored by the Educational Testing Service and conducted jointly by the polling firms of Peter D. Hart, a Democrat, and David Winston, a Republican.

As for the value of education, when asked to identify from a list of five options the single greatest source of U.S. success in the world, the public education system edged out our democratic system of government for first place, with our entrepreneurial culture, military strength, and advantages of geography and natural resources far behind.

“Unacceptable” Bustin’ Out All Over

15 10 2006

So leaders label situations “unacceptable” when they feel frustrated and unable to act for the better. A bully pulpit with a very limited vocabulary.
Which I was still thinking about, when I read this school culture story:

. . .“Sometimes you don’t have all the info yet. We’re compelled to react to telltale signs of trouble. But we move second to second now, always faster, and the fire is always getting hotter.”

In this evolving landscape, institutions have also responded swiftly to other new challenges, like those posed by athletes participating on social Web sites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com. With students on many campuses posting on the sites, it is not uncommon for athletes to do so. That has caused embarrassment for athletic departments when, for example, a prominent athlete, who may be only 19 or 20, is pictured holding a can of beer. Other athletes have been photographed holding weapons or have contributed to crude discussions about sexual exploits.

. . .dozens of colleges and universities have systematically rewritten athletic department policies, stiffened student-athlete codes of conduct and altered coaches’ contracts to hold them responsible for players’ actions. Some have begun impressing accepted standards of behavior on potential recruits.

“The Duke situation has had a chilling effect” . . .

I would look to complex parenting and social solutions, not codified standards for Big School to set, Big Law to enforce and Big Media to alternately hail and mock. OTOH, at least it’s doing something to look less impotent.

But suppose what I find unacceptable is all this institutional control of individual speech and behavior?

Why for example, is it unacceptable for Hewlett-Packard’s high powered leaders to have their “private” speech spied on, yet acceptable if not obligatory to spy on the private lives of athletes, especially students?

Can coercing their consent just erase the ethical dilemma?
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